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Public bettors love Falcons and Bengals, hate 49ers in Week 4
By ANDREW AVERY

It’s Week 4 of the NFL schedule. We’re seeing what teams are for real and which are pretenders as we hit the quarter mark of the season.

Week 4 also means the return of the NFL to England, as the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins battle it out at Wembley Stadium.

We talk to John Lester, senior lines manager at BookMaker, about the action coming in on some of the biggest games on the Week 4 NFL board.

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins (London, England) – Open: +1, Move: +3, Move: +1.5

Subplots abound as these two AFC East rivals venture across the Atlantic Ocean and square off in London, England.

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin could very well be coaching for his job on Sunday, while the Jets seem to be focused on toilet paper, worried about the gaunt state of the TP overseas.

The Dolphins are familiar with the confines of Wembley Stadium, playing there last season and in 2007, splitting each straight up but covering the spread in both.

Books opened this game anywhere from a Pick to Miami +1.5, but as the week progressed, it’s been sharp money that’s come in on Philbin and Dolphins.

“The later-week action that’s come in on the Dolphins is all smart money,” Lester said. “I think it will end up at a PK after being as high as Jets -3 earlier this week. The total surprisingly continues to attract over bettors but I’m sure we will see some under money come in late.”

Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons – Open: -6, Move: -6.5, Move: -5.5

Seven teams have begun the season with a 3-0 SU record and five are 3-0 ATS. The Falcons fall into both of those categories, winning each despite trailing in the fourth quarter in each and covering as underdogs to come through for faithful Falcons backers.

This will be the first time that Dan Quinn’s squad will be pegged as faves and public money has flooded in backing the Falcons. But, as Lester notes, sharp bettors have come in to back the visitors as kickoff approaches.

“One-sided action here as far as number of wagers with more than 75 percent of them on Atlanta,” Lester says. “We’ll certainly have liability with the Falcons teaser players as well. However, some of the sharps have showed up today (Saturday) to back Houston so we’re evening out somewhat as far as total handle.”

Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals – Open: -4, Move: -3.5

Another of those 3-0 SU and ATS teams is the Bengals, who have become a favorite of the betting public.

Cincy will be looking for its first 4-0 start since the 2005 season while the Chiefs, who began the season so promising in that 27-20 win at Houston, are looking to avoid a third-straight loss.

The Bengals offense was firing on all cylinders in last week’s 28-24 win in Baltimore, with quarterback Andy Dalton throwing for a career-high 383 yards and wide receiver A.J. Green hauling in 10 catches for 227 yards and two touchdowns.

This one is a case of the sharps versus the public, however, as the former loves the visitors.

“This spread will likely end up at a field goal,” believes Lester, “Public loves the undefeated Bengals but the wiseguys are on the Chiefs, and it looks like they’ll keep getting more until we drop it to -3. The over is getting good action from both sides of the betting spectrum.”

Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers – Open: +8, Move: +9, Move: +7

The 49ers looked quite good in Week 1’s 20-3 victory as 2.5-point dogs against the Minnesota Vikings. But the wheels fell off quick and hard in weeks two and three, getting pummeled 43-18 by the Steelers and 47-7 last week in Arizona.

Now they face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers? Good grief.

Rodgers is completing 73.6 percent of his passes through the opening three games, leading the Pack to unblemished 3-0 SU and ATS records.

Thanks to the dismal showings the past couple of weeks, is there any love for the Niners?

“Save for a few sharper bets that were placed at +9, we can’t get anyone to bet on the Niners,” Lester points out. “Certainly none of the square bettors will back them. I think this climbs back up and gets close to double digits as Joe Public wagers start coming in on Sunday.”

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints – Open: -3

Brandon Weeden put up a nice looking boxscore last week, completing 22-of-26 passes for 232 yards, but fell on the wrong end of a 39-28 scoreline against the Falcons.

The Cowboys have been true road warriors of late, however. They can set a franchise record with 11 consecutive road victories with a win in New Orleans. They’ve fared well at the betting window in those spots as well, going 8-2 ATS in the previous 10 games away from Jerry World.

“We are pretty even as far as spread action but the moneyline bettors have been taking Dallas at a 3-to-1 clip,” notes Lester. “I think this stays right on the key number until kickoff. The total has escalated some and it will probably continue to rise.”